Awhile back I did a brief piece on a promising Kickstarter campaign called Quantum Suicide which was ended before I could do much more. Now the game is back and it is already doing great in only a day or so. I reached out to the developers at Cotton Candy Cyanide and they were good enough to do an awesome interview. Both Molten Cherry (MC) and Nyx (N) have taken part so there is a lot here for all the fans.
-As this is your second campaign for Quantum Suicide what is different this time around and what makes you more confident you will succeed?
(MC)There are a few reasons why we am more confident this time around. When the first campaign launched we were absolute nobodies with no friends. We made social media accounts for the occasion, but started the launch with less than a hand full of friends on all accounts which were our family members that we forced to support us…Don’t judge us, We know everyone does it! J By the end of the campaign, we had over 500 backers (which we refer to as Quantumers) and hundreds of friends/likes on social media. We now have a following, and small it may be, the Quantumers hearts are big and their impact is nothing to be ignored! Quantumers have started collecting stats on the project, updated and posted about QS on various pages and put in just as much work as we are to getting exposure. I am more confident this time round because of how passionately our current Quantumers believe in the project, so much so that they are giving money, time and effort to the project. When we failed the first time I was crushed that I had failed the people who believed is us so much, but their comments and constant support burns a fire in me that no one could extinguish! We are going to succeed and it’s all going to be thanks to the community our Quantumers have created!
(N)We’re more confident that we will succeed with the second campaign because thanks to the exposure and support of backers from the previous campaign. Now that we’ve had some people to use as test subjects, we are much more in tune about what people want from Quantum Suicide and we’ve adjusted the new campaign to meet those needs.
-You mention that the player can choose what sex they want to be and that there are multiple male and female partners possible but can a player only make heterosexual choices?
(MC)No. Although the player gets to choose their own sex, the countable options also have their own sexual preferences and will react to the player as such. We have heterosexual, Bi-sexual and Homosexual court-able options. So if a player chooses to court a particular character who is interested in them, they can get the love ending, if however they aren’t interested in you that way, you can get the friendship ending…that is of course if you both live long enough to get to these endings J We thought it was important to not only be inclusive of sexual preferences, but also to give the characters themselves their own preferences rather than just making them available to everyone.
(N)Each character has their own sexuality and we don’t presume to think that the player is necessarily heterosexual, so you are free to court whomever you choose. The only word of caution is that just because you want to court a character, that doesn’t strictly mean that the character will be interested in you romantically.
Games in the past have generally allowed the player to court everyone, with an assumption that the character will be interested in the player. We’ve decided to give the characters a little more depth by making them as complex (hopefully) as humans are, and that it’s not only your appearance and personality, but also your actions that will either endear you to the character, or make them hate you.
-In your first campaign the story was described a little different than it is this time around, especially concerning the AI; would you agree with that?
(N)The story was made a little snappier this time around. A corrupted A.I system in a spaceship is a pretty classic sci-fi trope and I made it stronger in the introduction because it is an easy way to explain to potential backers exactly what sort of atmosphere the story will be taking place in. The change was essentially to hook readers which was obscured last time by some of the explanations.
(MC)I think this time around we have given the AI (called Ai – means love in Japanese) a bit more attention than previously. Although at the end of the day your decisions can determine who lives and who dies, the AI is the reason that choose is being made in the first place, so I think she deserves a bit more credit J
-You mention a couple of games that inspired you to create Quantum Suicide, one in particular seems to have a tremendous influence, but what would you say influenced you the most?
(N)It’s really hard for me to just choose one game.
Personally, I love the art style of Dangan Ronpa and I hope that there is some of that flair in our characters. Virtue’s Last Reward definitely had a huge impact on the ALLY / BETRAY sort of dynamics that will be played out in Quantum Suicide, as does other popular culture. TV shows like Liar Game, The Genius, and Kamisama no Iutoori have an excellent alienating quality that emphasizes how easily people are willing to turn on each other. Even though they are fighting each other to win the game and not die, they really should be fighting the environment or the cause of the game.
Overall, I guess it’d have to be VLR just on the basis that the puzzles are thematically similar, using logic and abstract thinking more than just reflex like Dangan Ronpa often does.
(MC)Consequences and Puzzles. I love VLR and 999 more than most of my friends and family (sorry guys) and the reason I love it so much is that not only does it have a great story line but the idea of consequences based on the path I have chosen drives me wild. I have to go back, I want to know what happens if I go right rather than left, I want to know if I could have saved her or if she is going to die anyway…and then throw in some puzzles to keep me engaged beyond the choices and narrative, you have a die hard fan! I want QS to be similar – an engaging story filled with consequences and puzzles that make you serious take a moment and think.
-You mention that some parts will be subbed but will this include the main character or will the main character remain mute?
(N)The main character will remain mute purely for economic reasons. Given that both male and female options are possible, as well as the many inner monologue and dialogue options, it’s much easier to keep the main character mute. Hopefully, this absence of voice will also help players put themselves in the game.
(MC)The main character at this point will remain mute forever. The reason for this is because when you are playing a game like a visual novel, it is easier to project yourself into the role when most identifying characters are removed. When a player reads the protagonists lines they are more than likely going to hear it in their own voice. Even though we have images of what the protagonist look like, you will never see them when you are talking, and even in CG’s will never be the front and center of the image.
-You mention that there will be upwards of 30 different endings but how much will they differ from each other? Is there a general ending and then it changes depending on choice of partner or is each ending entirely unique?
(MC)Each ending is unique. They all vary from who is still alive, how did people die, who you are closest with etc. Each one have been written individually and not as a ‘cut and paste’ method. Some of them are just straight out nuts, and that’s what we like!
(N)We can’t give away too much here, because there’s some pretty crazy stuff that’ll be going down during the endgame but the endings themselves do have a fair bit of difference. The choice of partner is one of the main factors in the endings, but the crew dynamics will change from ending to ending depending on who is still alive. There are things that one set of people will do that others won’t that’ll change how the game ends.
-You mention that each partner will have a few possible endings but that is still very short of the total 30 endings; where will the other endings come from?
(N)Again, spoilers. There’s a lot more going on in Quantum Suicide than first appears, but we want to keep it under wraps to give our players a decent surprise.
(MC)Don’t worry my math is perfect, but the reasoning behind it….well It’s a secret. Shhhhhh.
-While the concept for the Everett and the background examples shown are great how accurate will the actual science behind it be in the story?
(N)I’m not great at science, but as is my understanding it will be approximately Doctor Who level of accurate. There’s enough there that you can understand what is going on and how it could be possible, but you also have to suspend disbelief just a touch. Tina likes accurate science though, so she’ll probably do what she can to make it accurate.
(MC)Good Question! So, like most science fiction we have started with actual theories and have used them to begin the story. Of course, we have had to get a little creative with them, however, theoretically I don’t think anyone could disprove most our science (some parts are pretty shaky, but just close your eyes and believe)– That’s the beautiful thing about science fiction, it may not be possible now, but that doesn’t mean it never will be!
-You mention designing this game because you wanted to create a darker visual novel; how much darker are we looking at and how will that work with the romantic parts? How ecchi can we expect to get?
(MC)People will die. People you love will die and it may not be peacefully in their sleep. How much darker you ask? Well, we aren’t complete sociopaths, but there is children on board who we are also making compete in the deletion games…
As for the romance and how it will contribute is quiet easy. Throughout the game, you will be able to use your relationships with others as ways to manipulate the situation into your favour…or to be blind sighted and betrayed by who you believed to be your soul mate and sucked out an airlock. Either way all is fair in Love and War.
Ecchi levels are probably about on par with the first CG of the demo with Shizuka. We want to include suggestive material, but never to the point that it isn’t appropriate for an entire generation. Your imagination is where magic happens, so take it there!
(N)It’s definitely an odd combination, having both death and love as the main thematic elements of the game. It’ll get pretty damn dark. Provided you play through a few times, you will likely see every crew member die in interesting ways, and you will also die time and time again.
The romantic part stems from how people cling to humanity in life or death situations. After any major destructive event, you will inevitably see people out on the street the next day helping out however they can. Quantum Suicide tries to play with the dynamic that they have to be selfish in the game to survive or to protect someone, but at the end of the day, they are good people. They are clinging to each other, to assuage their guilt, or to stop feeling numb, because they only have each other.
There’s an immediacy because they know they’re probably going to die which acts as a catalyst and moves along relationships that would otherwise take longer to develop. It’s pretty much Apocalypse Sex: The Game.
There will be ecchi, panty shots, some conveniently placed steam in the bathroom. We’re being careful with the ecchi to ensure that it isn’t one-sided, and that there will be male and female ecchi shots depending on who you’re courting (provided they reciprocate). There should be one or two CGs per route that are ecchi, but we have to be mindful of the content as if we hit the PS Vita stretch goal, we need to be able to get it on the Network.
-You mention there will be mini-games in Quantum Suicide; can you elaborate on that and maybe provide some examples?
(MC)Although the Deletion games have you partake in a game each week, the actual event would be more like a puzzle than a mini-game in the traditional sense. An example of one of the Deletion Game rounds is one that is based off of Battleship. Each character in the game has been given a grid location of where their battleship is on the board. No one else has this information and the game is completed in rounds to determine a winner. Each round the characters (including the player) gets to choose where to attack. At the beginning of the game, one of the Characters is like, “this is silly, if we know where everyone is we can avoid each other. I trust you all and I am A4-A6”. That character is dead in the next round. You have to navigate through relationships and strategy to try and get the result you want in each round.
(N)The mini-games will be logic based puzzles or strategy games that require you to think your way out of a situation. It’s taking a lot of cues from Liar Game. Rather than being reflex based, we want to encourage people to seriously think about how they play the game as it will determine whether they live or die.
-What’s with the Promotions part of your campaign and who will have access to the bonuses unlocked?
(N)The promotions part of the campaign is to encourage our backers to use the #QuantumSuicide tag on social media. Our biggest enemy is lack of exposure, being a new company, so we are relying on our followers to spread the word. All backers will have access to the bonus material, it’ll likely make its way into the bonus content in the game itself later as well.
(MC)We have decided to try and encourage the sharing of our game on social media to try and get a bit more exposure. We have asked that people #Quantumsuicide on twitter and Instagram and in return, we will give extra content to all backers if certain milestones are reached!
For example, If we can get #quantumsuicide posted on twitter 2500 times, every single backer (including the $1 bros) will receive short stories based on the games characters.
-Why air fresheners?
(MC)Ahhh Air Freshners. So, we wanted a way to promote our game that was unique and something that people would use (rather than throwing in a draw) and would see. After days of racking our brains, I was sitting in traffic looking at my Star Wars Air freshener and may or may not have yelled ‘eureka’ in real life. After this is was very easy pitching it to Nyx (Ashley) and we ran with the idea of needing one to cover up the scent of blood on spaceships. It’s strange and unique, and hopefully does its job!
(N)We wanted something that people would hopefully use and ergo be in a visible place throughout the duration of the Kickstarter.
-The demo is solid but how much would you say is left to complete the game?
(N)Quite a lot is left to do, we still have a lot of the writing and coding left on the game. We’ll be working on the game during our spare time for the next year and a half.
(MC)The game itself is quite a large project as you can imagine. We have it all mapped and know where each ending is and which relationship is where – however still need to complete writing the ‘human’ parts that all good writing requires. It will take us a few solid months to make it up to standard and ready for final editing and publishing. The biggest thing we will be waiting on is the artwork – these beautiful backgrounds, CGs and Sprites don’t appear instantly~
-While development is being done by primarily two people there seems to be a lot of outside help; is that part of the Kickstarter funds or how did they get involved?
(N)The Kickstarter funds are entirely to pay out other artists. Tina and I are not getting paid for any of our contributions (writing/coding) and are doing it entirely out of love. The bulk of the Kickstarter funds are going to Art and Music, to people that we hired by searching the internet extensively to find people that were competent and willing to work on a long term project.
(MC)CCCN itself is made up of MoltenCherry (Tina) and Nyx (Ahley) and we are doing all of the scripting and coding. All Art, Music and Voice Acting is outsourced to a number of different talented artists that we have commissioned to bring the project together. To this point, we have collectively spent about 10k AUD to get the ball rolling and allowed us to release a demo. The funding we will receive from Kickstarter will allow us to commission more art, sprites etc so that way we can make a complete game.
We (Tina and Ash) are receiving no money from the Kickstarter and are writing and coding the game in our spare time as a labor of love. Although getting paid would be nice, it is more important to us to share the game with the world then to ask for an additional 10k on Kickstarter to pay ourselves and possibly not have the opportunity to share the project with others!
-When do you think the promotional video will come out and can we get a little sneak peek? 😉
(N)We don’t yet have a release date for the promotional video, but it’s being worked on.
(MC)We are working on it, and as soon as its ready, you will be my first contact!
-What do you hope to get out of Quantum Suicide if it is funded?
(N)This is the biggest creative project I’ve ever worked on. It’s scary putting things that you love into the world for other people to criticize and judge, but if we are funded, all I can hope for is that we’ll make a functional, enjoyable game that will give some people respite from their daily lives.
(MC)I just hope that people enjoy the game as much as we have enjoyed making it. I could say something crazy like become rich and famous and own a big house, but if that was the end goal I wouldn’t be making video games, I would probably be considering a life of crime.
-Are there any plans for future games already?
(MC)I am not going to say we have ‘plans’ because all of our energy is going into QS, however, I do have a book of ideas that would easily translate into a video game titles. First things first though– Let’s make QS amazing!
(N)We’ve thrown about some ideas, but I’d like to focus on getting this one finished and finished well before even seriously entertaining the idea of a second game.